As some of you will know I’m an Android user and my current phone is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It’s a lovely device, it’s very powerful, it get’s direct updates from Google and overall I’m pretty happy with it. However, there was one minor problem nagging at me and I thought I’d share the solution with you. I’m running Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) and the built-in SMS client is rubbish. A lot of people don’t care about SMS these days with emails, Tweets and other things all available on your phone, but I still do. When someone sends me a contact card via SMS, a simple VCF file, I want to be able to see it!
A friend sent me a contact from her phone and it just showed up as a completely blank message. No text, nothing. Perplexed I pinged her to ask what had happened, “I just forwarded you the contact” she said. Clicking on the blank message achieved nothing. After searching online I discovered this is a common problem with the built in Android 4.x SMS client. It doesn’t let you see address book attachments in lots of cases.
Luckily I discovered an alternative SMS app called Handcent. It’s available in the Android Market – sorry Play Store as it’s now called – and it’s completely free. I opened up the same SMS thread in Handcent and it showed a .vcf file linked to the message. All I had to do was click on it and say “yes please, put it in my address book”, or whatever wording it used. Job done.
Since then I’ve made Handcent my default SMS app and it’s infinitely better. I’ve themed it to my taste, I get nice pop ups when there’s a message, I can even reply without having to open the full thread and I love it. I can schedule messages, create groups and do all kinds of other cool stuff, I’ve barely scratched the surface. So that’s my tip for the day, if you have an Android phone don’t use the crappy built in SMS app, download Handcent and improve your life. You can also get free extensions and enhancements for it.
To make Handcent your default SMS client just open the app and go to Settings -> Application Settings -> Default Messaging Application, <see screenshot below>.
Sadly I don’t think Handcent is Open Source but I haven’t confirmed that one way or the other yet. It is worth a look though and I encourage you to try it out. Apparently it’s also available on the iPhone, whatever that is 😉
Enjoy, and let me know how you get on,